Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

* Seared Broccoli Stems with Smoked Tofu

Posted on November 18th, 2012 by Linda. Filed under Appetizer, Chinese, Cuisine, Sear, Sichuan Peppercorn, Sichuanese, Sides, tofu, Vegan, Vegetarian.

This has been my lucky week –  not only did I get to see my very awesome friend, Angie Koong, I was bestowed with some fresh smoked tofu from Chengdu and a sachet of green Sichuan peppercorns when she swung by San Francisco for two days.  Angie is my foodie friend from Hong Kong, and needless to say, we get along very well because we both so love to eat and cook all kinds of foods – from Malaysian to Sichuan to foie gras and the stinkiest of cheeses!  Here we are, last night at Prospect SF, between glasses of wine, lobster gnocchi, dungeness-stuffed calamari and more, taking a sniff at a little ziplock bag of the citrusy peppercorn and inhaling the hickory-like aroma of the smoked tofu. Angie had just had a foodie weekend at Chengdu a few days before where she scored these treats for me.  I, in turn, handed the ever-the-foodie some ice foam packs to keep her five balls of burrata cool for her flight back to Hong Kong!

Today, I created this dish using the smoked tofu where I paired it with the naturally sweet and crunchy broccoli stems (yes, they are edible!) and some of my Sichuan red oil.  And finished it with a sprinkling of crushed green Sichuan peppercorns.  As Angie warned me, the green ones are more potent in the numbing department, so it made a good finishing salt.

If you ever wanted to explore undiscovered China through “guided driving journeys into hidden China and beyond“, Angie’s husband, Peter Schindler, leads amazing, chance of a lifetime trips, through the land of Shangri-la.  One day, I will take time off and do this life-altering trip – food, culture, photography, and good friends.  It’s on my list of 10 things to do before I die.  If you ever need to be inspired by nature, go to On the Road in China.  Peter is also an inspirational speaker, and an entrepreneur and so maybe you might be able to get your company to pay for your trip!

Chef’s tip: Don’t throw out the broccoli stems!  It’s just as nutritious as the crowns, and is delicious….almost a different vegetable altogether.  Just use a peeler or a paring knife to remove the hard outer layer of the stem to expose the pale and crisp stem.  See my other post on Sichuan red oil for recipe.

6 broccoli stems, trimmed, yielding 2 cups baton
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons rice bran oil

2 pieces smoked tofu (do fu gan), cut into thin strips
1 leek, sliced at a diagonal thinly
1 Fresno chile, seeded, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon ginger juice
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 Tablespoons Sichuan red oil

1 teaspoon green Sichuan peppercorn
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1. Heat a cast iron skillet on high.  Ad a little oil.  When it starts to smoke, sear in small batches, the broccoli stem batons.  Remove when the stems are slightly wilted, and still crunchy.  Repeat for remaining batches.  Toss seared stems with salt.
2. Sear the smoked tofu.  Add to reserved broccoli stems.
3. Next sear, leeks and chile.   Add to broccoli-tofu mix.
4. Add ginger juice, vinegar, soy sauce, salt and Sichuan red oil.  Toss to mix.  Let sit for 20 minutes for flavors to come together.
5. Muddle green Sichuan peppercorn with salt.  Just before serving, sprinkle mix on.

Serves: 4

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* Bubur Pulut Hitam

Posted on July 13th, 2012 by Linda. Filed under Cuisine, Dessert, Malaysian, Slow, Vegan, Vegetarian.

Bubur Pulut Hitam translated Black Rice Porridge is a wonderful Malaysian hot dessert.  One would wonder why in a weather that is constantly in the high 80s Fahrenheit would want one a hot dessert??  Somehow it’s very comforting.  The nice is nutty and chewy.  And if you have some leftover on hand, make some popsicles with it (that Zoku pop maker!) and you will get what we call locally in Malaysia “ais krim potong”.

Chef tip: Glutinous black rice is not the same as Forbidden rice.  The former is a shorter grain rice and cooks up stickier.  Despite its name, it does not contain gluten.

1 cup glutinous black rice
10 cups water

3 pandan leaves, tied into a knot

1/2 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coconut cream (skim the top of a can of coconut milk)

  1. Bring rice and water to a boil.  When it starts to boil, bring it to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally so that the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Do not scrape the bottom of the pot so that none of the burnt parts will get stirred into the pudding.  About halfway into the cooking, add the pandan leaves.
  2. When rice is “broken”, the pudding will be thick and mushy.  Add more water if needed to the desired consistency.  Remove pandan leaves.  Add sugars and stir to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir the salt into the coconut cream.
  4. When pudding is done, ladle into bowls, and top with a generous amount of coconut cream.  Serve hot.

Serves: 8


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* Acar

Posted on July 21st, 2011 by Linda. Filed under Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Chili Peppers, Cucumber, Eggplant, Entree, Malaysian, Nyonya, Salads, Sides, Stir Fry, Vegan, Vegetarian.


Ah Ma, my father’s mother, made the most delicious acar.  She learned from her nyonya mother-in-law, Ah Chor, the lady we thought looked like the little old lady in the 1960’s sitcom, Beverly Hillbillies, in a kebaya!  Ah Ma’s acar is so well pickled, it could have lasted for months if we didn’t devour it all in a week!  Her trick was to wring the blanched vegetables real dry.  I never really appreciated the nyonya heritage in my dad’s family until much later when I got interested in cooking and realized that my grandmother was probably one of the best nyonya cooks around.  Since then, it’s been an endless effort to recreate many of her recipes from the memory of taste.  This is one of them.

Chef’s tip: Use a salad spinner to remove as much water as possible from the blanched vegetables.  Pack acar tightly in a glass jar and keep refrigerated.  Like kimchi, it will keep for several weeks.

Spice Paste:
10 dried long Asian chilies, rehydrated in water or fresh Fresno chilies, seeded
2 stalks lemongrass, sliced thinly
2 slices galangal
1 piece fresh turmeric, about 1 Tablespoon, sliced
8 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon roasted belachan
4 candlenuts

2 carrots peeled
¼ head cauliflower
1 Japanese Eggplant
½ small savoy cabbage
12 Chinese long yard beans
1 English Cucumber, seeded

½ cup canola oil
1 cup white vinegar
½ cup of sugar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 cup roasted peanuts, crushed
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

1. In a food processor or blender, grind chilies, lemongrass and galangal till fine. Add remaining spice paste ingredients and process till smooth. Add a little water if needed. Set aside.
2. Cut all vegetables into 1 inch juliennes. Cut cauliflower into small florets.
3. Blanch vegetables. Blanched carrots, cauliflower and eggplant till tender, about 3 minutes, and cabbage and long beans two minutes. Spin and squeeze vegetables very dry. Add in cucumber.
4. Heat oil on medium high. Fry spice paste till fragrant, red and oil has separated, about 7-10 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar and salt. Fry till fragrant about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Remove from heat.
5. Mix in vegetables and toss to mix. Add peanuts and sesame seeds and mix to combine.  Let it sit for at last 30 mins for flavors to come together.  Can be prepared in advance.  Serve room temperature or chilled.

Serves: 6

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